The site of a former laundromat and private dance studio at 4411 Cabrillo St. reopened last week as The Butterfly Joint, a woodworking shop "for kids of all ages."
Owner Danny Montoya has more than 10 years of early-childhood education and a lifelong affinity for woodworking. Three years ago, he decided to combine these two passions, and The Butterfly Joint was born, originally located at 2640 Mission St.
“I love offering the community a place to create, learn, and grow,” said Montoya. Since opening in 2015, he's taught young students woodworking skills, along with lessons in manners and personal responsibility.
Classes are split into different levels for toddlers (18 months to 3 years), beginners (ages 4–9) and advanced students (10–18). Students learn traditional joinery techniques—in place of screws and nails—with the goal of creating an piece they can take home.
Montoya said the moving of The Butterfly Joint to the Richmond is an opportunity to join a community of families and small business owners.
“I've met so many great neighbors, small business owners and families in the short time we've been here, and am excited to add to the dynamic.”
At first, the building at Cabrillo Street and 45th Avenue seemed too remote for the relatively young business, he said.
“Being located in The Mission for two years, [we were] very central to working families,” explained Montoya. But after he and his wife Erin viewed the building—which includes both a retail space and residence—they “fell in love with it almost immediately.”
The couple believed they’d found their dream home but didn’t want to get their hopes up.
“We were starting to get used to rejection,” Montoya admitted, recalling how they'd made unsuccessful offers on properties in Portola, the Mission, and the Sunset.
“But the sellers really liked the fact that we wanted to live in the apartment and run a business that benefits kids in the neighborhood, throughout the city and beyond.”
Montoya said the renovation process was “crazy in a good way.” In just over two months, the family renovated the entire living space, transforming a former private ballroom into a woodworking studio, all while finishing up summer camps at The Butterfly Joint’s Mission location—and relocating from their Tenderloin apartment.
The new spot on the west side is a far cry from the hustle and bustle of Mission Street, but Montoya is excited for the change.
“I want this to be a true community center, where families bring their kids to work with their hands, neighbors use the shop to finish up a home project and people just come to shoot the breeze.”
Living just a few steps away, he said he'll have more time to offer adult classes, private lessons, and studio time.
The Montoyas' new neighborhood is also ideal for raising a family. “My daughter already has friends who come to our home screaming her name to ride bikes," he said. "This is something that never would have happened in the Tenderloin, where I had lived the past 20 years.”
The Butterfly Joint offers after-school classes, camps, private lessons, and special events. For details, visit thebutterflyjoint.com.
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